Milwaukee's recent brewery boom

Welcome to Milwaukee’s Brewery Boom: 22 New Breweries to Try

The brewery boom has made it tough to keep up with new breweries in Milwaukee. Here’s a (growing) guide to some of the newer craft beer spots in the area.

[alert type=white ]Updated in January, 2019: In slightly more than three years, the Milwaukee craft brewery scene has seen an astonishing increase. We’ve added the breweries that have opened in that time frame and weren’t on the scene just a few years ago. It’s a good time to be a beer drinker in Milwaukee.[/alert]

Lakefront, Sprecher Brewery and Milwaukee Brewing got in on the local brewery game early. And more recently, spots like Big Head, Biloba, Brenner, District 14 and Enlightened got the craft beer ball rolling. But since late 2015, the addition of breweries has been unprecedented. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the crowded (and still growing) craft beer scene.

Map of New Milwaukee Breweries

Bavarian Bierhaus

photo courtesy of Visit Milwaukee

Address: 700 W. Lexington Blvd.

Opened: April 2016

What’s on tap: Well-made German styles are in abundance, but don’t miss creations like Mike’s RyePL India Pale Lager.

Reason to go: German food, beer and a healthy dose of gemutlichkeit.

Who needs to go to Munich when you can take the short trip to Glendale? The Bavarian Bierhaus doesn’t just brew beer, it also provides a massive beer hall, tap room and beer garden to drink it in. Make sure it’s on your list for Oktoberfest activities.

Black Husky Brewing

Address: 909 E. Locust St.

Opened: August 2016

What’s on tap: Sproose 2 IPA is the stuff of legend thanks largely to the (literally)piney flavor provided by the addition of real spruce tips.

Reason to go: Sip on good beers and take in what happens when northern Wisconsin meets Riverwest.

Black Husky brings the Northwoods to Milwaukee. Owners Tim and Toni Eichinger moved their operation from tiny Pembine, where they started brewing (and earning acclaim) in a log cabin in 2010. Ample woodwork, a long and inviting bar and even a chainsaw carving of a beloved husky complete the aesthetic.

Broken Bat Brewing Co.

Bottle of Broken Bat 762 Imperial Stout
Photo courtesy of Broken Bat Brewing

Address: 231 E. Buffalo St.

Opened: April 2017

Tap highlights: Baseball-themed brews like the tasty Straight Chedd Apricot IPA and Climb the Wall Farmhouse Ale.

Reason to go: You like baseball as much as owners Tim Pauly and Dan McElwee.

The unique downstairs space in the heart of the Third Ward has Cream City brick walls and is adorned with baseball-themed beer labels made by Mindspike Design. Broken Bat has ventured into barrel aging and a slew of different styles, but pale ales are often the most plentiful tap selections.

City Lights Brewing

Brewer Jimmy Gohsman standing behind beer taps
Jimmy Gohsman, photo courtesy of City Lights Brewing

Address: 2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.

Opened: February 2017

What’s on tap: An amber ale that’s a great take on the style, a delicious coconut porter and more.

Reason to go: The old Milwaukee Gas Light Co. building is an architectural gem.

Rinka Chung Architecture helped co-owner/brewer Jimmy Gohsman create an amazing taproom that mixes wooden tables, exposed beams and glazed brick. It’s all under the watchful eye of the shiny stainless steel of the brew room, which is in full view behind the small bar. The brewery opened with four styles but Gohsman has been rolling out new recipes frequently since then.

Eagle Park Brewing

Eagle Park taproom
The Eagle Park taproom has a warm, comfortable feel at night, but a large skylight in the center of the taproom allows in plenty of natural light during the day. Photo by Chris Drosner

Address: 823 E. Hamilton St.

Opened: January 2017

What’s on tap: A wide range of rotating styles, but don’t miss any hazy IPAs on tap. Demon Haze is fantastic.

Reason to go: I mentioned the hazy IPAs, right? Eagle Park has established itself as one of the best makers of the style in Wisconsin.

Brewer Jack Borgardt and three of his brothers a large part of the band Eagle Trace and Borgardt’s bright future could be in both brewing and music. The beers here, often with musically inspired names, represent a wide range of styles and are well crafted. Eagle Park’s move to its current location in April 2018 meant more space for customers and a wide ranging food menu. Both are good developments.

Explorium Brewpub

Beer samples at Explorium BrewpubAddress: 5300 S. 76th St.

Opened: January 2017

What’s on tap: Lots of things. Owner Mike Doble has 24 of his beers on tap.

Reason to go: A menu filled with standout bar food and two dozen beer options to wash it down.

It’s hard to find a weak pour among the 24 taps that Doble has flowing. Bigger brews like stouts, barleywines and Scotch ales shine, but don’t miss out on the tasty crispness of the Patagonian Hitchhiker Lager. Doble has already brewed a collaboration with Tampa standout Cigar City Brewing. That type of respect is earned.

The Fermentorium

Render of Fermentorium Barrel House
Photo courtesy of Kris Volkman

Address: 7481 Hwy. 60, Cedarburg

Opened: March 2016

What’s on tap: A dozen or so Fermentorium brews covering a wide enough range of styles to satisfy most beer drinkers.

Reason to go: The IPAs here are just juicy enough, and The Fermentorium has earned a reputation thanks to the style.

Owner Kris Volkman clearly has juicy IPAs down and The Fermentorium excels at crafting them. But keep an eye out for his one-off brews. The limited Brewer’s Reserve Series at the brewery lets Volkman play the role of mad scientist with often glorious results.

Good City Brewing

Address: 2108 N. Farwell Ave.

Opened: June 2016

What’s on tap: Reward Imperial IPA, a dank hop bomb that’s one of the best takes on the style you’ll find and Motto, a nice sessionable Mosaic pale ale.

Reason to go: The whole package—great beer, great food and a great space.

The trio of owners at Good City know what they’re doing. The ambitious food menu is a hit (the curry fries have garnered a loyal following) and Reward is an ideal way to wash it down. A busy barrel-aging program has created some exceptional limited brews. And, oh yeah, the rooftop deck is one of the better beer drinking spots in town.

Good City Brewing – Downtown

Address: 333 W. Juneau Ave.

Opened: January 2019

What’s on tap: Good City favorites, funky wild ales and one-off brews from a pilot brewing system.

Reason to go: You like sour beers and want to hang out in a gleaming downtown gem just dribbling distance from Fiserv Forum. Expect Good City Commons, a large second-floor patio space to become a popular destination.

MobCraft Beer

MobCraft Beer
Photo courtesy of MobCraft Beer.

Address: 505 S. 5th St.

Opened: July 2016

What’s on tap: A dozen or so of MobCraft’s crowdsourced recipes, including the standout Bat$h!t Crazy Brown Ale.

Reason to go: The space is sleek and inviting regardless of whether you sit inside or out.

MobCraft made the move from Madison in the summer of 2016 and added the northern bookend on a 5th Street brewery scene that includes Urban Harvest and the Sprecher Walker’s Point Taproom. The modern space is a good spot to try a slew of (often unusual) brews thought up by civilian beer drinkers around the state.

Pabst Milwaukee Brewing

Photo courtesy of Pabst Milwaukee Brewery

Address: 1037 W. Juneau Ave.

Opened: April 2017

What’s on tap: A mix of new and old recipes highlighted by Andeker German Helles.

Reason to go: Take a trip back in history to a Pabst Brewing complex that almost went the way of the dinosaur.

They don’t brew Pabst Blue Ribbon here, but they are recreating old recipes like Andeker and Old Tankard Ale. Those brews seem to be right at home in a stunningly renovated church that dates back to the late 1800s. The brewpub is a big part of the resurgence of an area that was nearly left for dead after Pabst pulled up stakes in 1996.

Raised Grain Brewing

Address: 1725 Dolphin Dr., Waukesha

Opened: September 2015

What’s on tap: 2016 Great American Beer Fest gold medal winner Paradocs Red Imperial IPA.

Reason to go: Paradocs is one good reason, but so is a massive taproom that opened in January 2019.

Raised Grain’s original location in a Waukesha strip mall opened just before Milwaukee’s 2016 brewery boom, but despite missing out on the hype associated with the brewery explosion Raised Grain has done just fine — a gold medal at GABF, the ability to draw long lines of beer fans for limited releases, and expansion into a 20,000-square-foot facility.

Third Space Brewing

Address: 1505 W. St. Paul Ave.

Opened: September 2016

What’s on tap: A slew of juicy IPAs (including the outstanding regular, Happy Place IPA), the occasional experiment gone right like Milwaukee Mule (a refreshing summer sour wheat ale made with ginger and lime), and, if your timing is right, a well-crafted barrel-aged brew.

Reason to go: The cool warehouse space has plenty of room for large groups and a beer garden that doesn’t disappoint.

Kevin Wright has an impressive brewing resume that includes a stint at the Master Brewing Program at UC-Davis and a long stay at Hangar 24 Brewery in Redlands, California. A fair amount of hops goes into the brew kettles here, and that’s a good thing. Ample indoor and outdoor space makes it possible for Third Space to host big events, like the outstanding Wisconsin IPA Fest in August.

Urban Harvest Brewing

Photo courtesy of JMKE Photography

Address: 1024 S. 5th St.

Opened: April 2016

What’s on tap: More than a dozen different brews, which is a lot considering Urban Harvest has a relatively small two-barrel system.

Reason to go: It’s cozy, and because it’s just a short walk to the Sprecher Walker’s Point Taproom (706 S. 5th St.) and MobCraft (505 S. 5th St.) you can make a crawl out of it.

Urban Harvest feels like a friendly neighborhood bar. The inviting old storefront oozes character and includes plenty of Cream City brick and huge windows that look out onto a quiet Fifth Street. Brewer Steve Pribek is comfortable creating plenty of styles of beer, which is a good thing.

Westallion Brewing Company

The taps at Westallion Brewing CompanyAddress: 1825 S. 72nd St.

Opened: April 2017

What’s on tap: A variety of brews named after notable West Allis names and events like the Western Days Vienna Lager. Also, the only Candy Corn Cream Ale in town.

Reason to go: Owner Erik Dorfner is as enthusiastic about his job as anyone you’ll ever meet.

The first brewery ever to open in West Allis is tucked on the edge of a quaint ‘Stallis neighborhood. Dorfner, a native, brings a friendly corner pub vibe to his young brewery. With 6,000 square feet to work with expect Dorfner to expand his production and tap selection.

1840 Brewing Company

The bar at 1840 Brewing
The bar at 1840 Brewing

Address: 342 E. Ward St.

Opened: August 2017

What’s on tap: Oak-aged beers and a wide range of styles.

Reason to go: Brewer Kyle Vetter is an artist with barrel aging and fermentation. And the oak adds complexity to delicious wild ales, saisons and IPAs. The cozy taproom bustles on weekends — the doors are only open to the general public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — and each week can be a completely different choice of drinking options.

Component Brewing

Component Brewing CompanyAddress: 2018 S. 1st St.

Opened: June 2018

What’s on tap: An impressive selection of varied styles that includes standouts like Down the Road A’piece NEIPA, Rose’s Sour Ale and Chase Ave. Chaser Pilsner.

Reason to go: The IPAs I’ve tried there are outstanding, but don’t stick to one style. Peruse the menu undisturbed as you sit in the discreet taproom hidden away on the second floor of a warehouse.

Gathering Place Brewing

Gathering Place Brewing wooden interior
Gathering Place Brewing wooden interior

Address: 811 E. Vienna Ave.

Opened: August 2017

What’s on tap: A dozen brews that skew more toward traditional (but don’t lack creativity) including standouts like Treffpunkt Kölsch-style ale.

Reason to go: Gathering Place shares its building with Flux Design and a wood mosaic wall and metal archway entry reflect that. The space is modern and welcoming and owner Joe Yeado hosts enough limited releases and events to keep people coming back.

Melms Brewing Company

Taps at Melms Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Melms Brewing Company

Address: 418 Merton Ave., Hartland

Opened: March 2018

What’s on tap: Seven straightforward traditional styles

Reason to go: Melms’ cozy taproom is a living legacy of Milwaukee’s brewing past. The original opened in the late 1850s in Walker’s Point by C.T. Melms. Bob Stack, a descendant of C.T., brought the brewery back to life after nearly 150 years.

Milwaukee Brewing Company

The new brewhouse at Milwaukee Brewing features four vessels capable of producing 60 barrels of wort (unfermented beer) in about two hours. Photo by Ashley Doelger

Address: 1128 N. 9th St.

Opened: September 2018

What’s on tap: More than a dozen MKE Brewing beers, including a rarity or two.

Reason to go: MKE Brewing got its start as the Milwaukee Ale House in 1997. The opening of its expansive Ninth Street location in late 2018 was a big move for one of Milwaukee’s earliest craft breweries. The modern, airy and bright space includes the Glass + Griddle restaurant and is a short walk to the Fiserv Forum. All of that makes it worth a trip.

Stock House Brewing Co.

The bar at Stock House Brewing
Photo courtesy of Stock House Brewing

Address: 7208 W. North Ave.

Opened: November 2018

What’s on tap: Brewer Mark Mahoney’s takes on small batches of traditional styles like saisons, stouts, pilsners and an IPA or two.

Reason to go: There are local breweries in town that have much bigger spaces, but the cozy storefront space lends to Stock House’s neighborhood feel. The brewery embraces Wauwatosa and that love is returned by the neighborhood.

Vennture Brew Company

Vennture Brewing
Vennture owners Simon McConico, Rob Gustafson and Jake Rohde (photo courtesy of Rob Gustafson)

Address: 5519 W. North Ave.

Opened: July 2018

What’s on tap: Saisons like The Heights, well-made stouts and porters, an IPA or two and plenty of gourmet coffee.

Reason to go: The combination of brewing beer and coffee provides plenty of options for patrons all day long. It also creates a uniquely homey and inviting environment. Coffee and beer drinkers often sit by side in the bright space.



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 20 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for a few years more.